Formula E electric car racing is tailor-made for Hong Kong

HKAA says the non-polluting and silent electric cars are ideal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 October, 2013, 10:21am

The Formula E world championship will promote the use of electric cars in Hong Kong, according to the top official behind the bid to host the inaugural series next year.

Lawrence Yu Kam-kee, president of the Hong Kong Automobile Association, said the usual obstacles critics raised, such as environmental pollution and noise pollution, did not apply to the Formula E electric racing series which he said was tailor-made for Hong Kong.

"Electric cars are pollution-free and we know both government and district councils are positive to [the idea of] holding the event. In fact, this will surely help to promote the use of electric cars in Hong Kong," Yu said.

We did not have to worry about the lack of a proper track, huge initial investment and environmental issues ... The coast is clear because these obstacles no longer exist in Formula E racing
Lawrence Yu

The absence of environmental issues was a major plus when local organisers first mulled over the prospect of bringing a leg of the 10-race series to Hong Kong, said Yu.

"We have been working on the details for over a year and we did not have to worry about the lack of a proper track, huge initial investment and environmental issues, including the noise level. The coast is clear because these obstacles no longer exist in Formula E racing," he said.

"Moreover, the track needs for the race are not as stringent as the traditional formula races. That means there is no need to build a course from scratch.

"However, with top speeds reaching 217km/h, acceleration from 0 to 100 kilometres in just three seconds and the thrills of a street race track, Formula E is expected to be as stunning as other formula races," Yu added.

In a bid to promote motor sports, Yu said he would push for local drivers to take part when the International Automobile Federation-sanctioned event was staged next November.

"I'm hoping to see Hong Kong drivers be part of the race in their hometown," Yu said. "I also want this race to be run in Hong Kong for the next decade or more for the betterment of local motor sports."

Hong Kong will be the third stopover in the inaugural 10-leg worldwide street series, which is scheduled to begin in Beijing next September and end in London in June 2015.

Hong Kong organisers have confirmed that the race, to be held on November 8, would be run through the streets of Central.

Yu said years of hard work would culminate when Formula E officials turned up later this month to look at a suitable circuit for the street series, which will feature 10 teams and include a drivers' championship as well as a constructors' competition.

"The race committee is coming to Hong Kong in mid-October for the assessment of our proposed route, which are the streets along Lung Wo Road by the government offices in Tamar," Yu said. "If it goes as we plan, the racers can actually speed through the cityscape like what we do in video games.

"Over the years, we took the initiative to negotiate with the World Motor Sport Council, the Hong Kong government as well as business enterprises, convincing them that it is doable. And now, all the effort and tears we shed have paid off."

Although the cars will be less powerful than Formula One cars - at 270 brake horsepower, they will have nearly one-third less grunt - Yu believed the race would still be a major draw for local fans starved of live motorsport action.

He said the government and other bodies supported the race and a major boon for organisers was that costs would be minimal, with the race being completed in one day.

Practice, qualification and racing will take place on the same day. Since the electric cars can only run at their top speed for 25 minutes, drivers will have to make a pit stop to change cars - and will have to run 100 metres to reach their second car.